CHICAGO – Remaining in third place in the NWSL standings, the Chicago Red Stars dropped a hard-fought contest on the road to the Portland Thorns in a 3-0 loss at Providence Park. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made a season-high six saves on Sunday and Chicago managed to keep the pressure on the Portland defense with 17 shots in the game.
Chicago enters September in the thick of the playoff race with 29 points. They will play three of their final five games at SeatGeek Stadium that will be crucial during the final weeks.
10’ Chicago looks to strike early with a great setup to get the ball to Morgan Brian at the edge of the box. She launches a well-placed shot that goalkeeper Adriana Franch gets her fingertips on to make the save.
12’ Tobin Heath gets a touch to play Christine Sinclair and she slots the ball into the back of the net to give Portland the lead.
24’ Heath’s cross finds Haley Raso on the far post and her shot is saved by Alyssa Naher, but Midge Purce is there to convert on the rebound and double Portland’s lead.
30’ Brian sends the ball to Savannah McCaskill who quickly passes it to Sam Kerr on the run. Kerr takes on enough defenders to give McCaskill some space to set up a shot that’s saved by the goalkeeper.
35’ A wonderful pass from Julie Ertz allows Chicago’s offense to get a quick counter-attack. Yuki Nagasato sets up Kerr for a shot in the box that’s deflected to McCaskill. After a couple more deflections the ball lands at Kerr’s feet and she fires a shot just high of the goal.
42’ Casey Short takes a crack with a left-footed shot that goes into the upper corner but the ball dips too late and lands on top of the net.
45+1’ Brian again stretches the Portland defense with a pass to Vanessa DiBernardo. DiBernardo does a great job of finding Ertz who is left unmarked and gets the shot off, but the ball goes wide.
56’ Sinclair hits a rocket that Naeher gets a touch on to push it off the crossbar but it finds the feet of Purce who taps it in.
75’ Ertz keeps the pressure on with a charging run into the 18-yard box to get her head on the ball, but the header is just high and sails over the net.
- Brooke Elby made her 50th NWSL appearance on Sunday. The defender came to Chicago via trade in the middle of the 2018 season and has scored her first two career goals this season for the Red Stars.
- If the ball was in play, odds are Morgan Brian was near. The midfielder led Chicago in total touches (79), passes (61), and tackles (5).
- Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made a career-high six saves against Portland. The starting goalkeeper for the world-champion U.S. WNT has 16 saves in nine games this season.
- Julie Ertz pushed the Chicago attack today. The 2017 U.S. Soccer Player of the Year led the Red Stars with six total shots and 19 total duels while contributing one key pass.
- Yuki Nagasato led the team with an impressive 91% pass accuracy and three key passes. It is the fourth consecutive game Nagasato has led the team in key passes.
The Red Stars continue their playoff push back at SeatGeek Stadium for a match against the Houston Dash on Sunday, September 8. Kickoff is scheduled for 5pm CT.
Portland Thorns vs Chicago Red Stars
August 25, 2019
Providence Park (Portland, OR)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns 2 1 3
Chicago Red Stars 0 0 0
POR: Christine Sinclair (Tobin Heath) 12’
POR: Midge Purce (unassisted) 24’
POR: Midge Purce (unassisted) 56’
CHI: Nikki Stanton (Yellow Card) 63’
POR: Tobin Heath (Yellow Card) 70’
CHI: Yuki Nagasato (Yellow Card) 84’
CHI: GK Naeher, D Short, D Gorden, D Naughton (Goralski 70’), D Davidson, M Brian, M DiBernardo (Elby 59’), M Ertz ©, F Nagasato, F McCaskill (Stanton 61’), F Kerr
POR: GK Franch, D Carpenter (Reynolds 73’), D Sonnett, D Menges, D Klingenberg, M Brynjarsdóttir, M Horan, M Raso (Crnogorcevic 85’), F Sinclair ©, F Heath, F Purce (Charley 63’)
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.